25/04/2017 at 12:53 #61101
The Blue Minions and I had another crack at ‘World War 3, 1984’ this week. In our previous game, the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars (QRIH) Battlegroup had been rushed south to shore up the crumbling 1 Belgian Corps and, together with West German Home Guard forces, had successfully blunted the reconnaissance efforts of the Soviet 40th Motor Rifles Regiment. However, the Soviets have broken through in other sectors and the QRIH Battlegroup is now tasked with blunting a Soviet armoured breakthrough east of the River Weser.
Corrupting the young…
Orbat for Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars Battlegroup – Lt Col O’Rasmussen:
(All elements ‘Veteran’)
1x Command Chieftain Main Battle Tank
1x Ferret Scout Car
1x Command CVR(T) Scorpion Reconnaissance Vehicle
3x CVR(T) Scorpion Reconnaissance Vehicle
‘A’ Squadron Group:
1x Command Chieftain Main Battle Tank
3x Chieftain Main Battle Tank
3x Infantry (1 with Carl Gustav, remainder with LAW)*
1x FV-432 Armoured Personnel Carrier*
1x Command Chieftain Main Battle Tank
4x Chieftain Main Battle Tank
No.1 Company Group, 1 Irish Guards – Major Pring:
1x L9A1 51mm Mortar Team
1x L7A2 GPMG Team (Sustained Fire Mount)
6x Infantry (2 with Carl-Gustav, remainder with LAW)
2x MILAN ATGM Team
4x FV-432 Armoured Personnel Carrier
1x Chieftain Main Battle Tank*
Elements, 111 Air Defence Battery RA:
2x Javelin SAM Team
2x CVR(T) Spartan Armoured Personnel Carrier
5 Field Battery, 19 Field Regiment RA:
3x Forward Observer
3x FV-432 Armoured Personnel Carrier
4x Abbot 105mm Self-Propelled Guns (off-table Direct Support)
[13, 25 & 28 Field Batteries also available in General Support]
‘B’ Flight, 653 Squadron, 3 Regiment Army Air Corps:
1x Command Gazelle AH Mk 1 Light Observation Helicopter
2x Lynx AH Mk 1 HELARM Anti-Tank Helicopter (TOW ATGM)
Royal Air Force:
1x Forward Air Controller (with Harrier GR Mk3 on call, armed with rockets)
1x Ferret Scout Car
*These elements are cross-attached between the QRIH and 1 IG to form mixed Squadron/Company Groups.
Orbat for 40th Motor Rifle Regiment (Elements) – Colonel Thomasski:
(All elements ‘Trained’ except for aircrew, who are ‘Experienced’)
Tank Battalion, 40th Motor Rifle Regiment – Lt Col Sibleyski:
1x Command T-64AK Main Battle Tank
9x T-64A Main Battle Tank
3x T-64B Main Battle Tank
9th Company, 40th Motor Rifle Regiment – Major Daviesski:
1x SA-14 ‘Gremlin’ SAM Team
2x PKM Light Machine Gun Team
9x Motor Rifle Infantry (3 with RPG-7VL, remainder with RPG-16)
5x BMP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Elements, Regimental Air Defence Company:
1x ZSU-23-4 ‘Shilka’ AAA Vehicle
1x SA-9 ‘Gaskin’ SAM Vehicle
Elements, Regimental Anti-Tank Company:
2x 9P148 (BRDM-2 with AT-5 ‘Spandrel’)
Elements, Regimental Recce Company:
1x BRDM-2 Scout Car
1x T-64B Main Battle Tank
1st Battery, Regimental Artillery Group:
1x Forward Observer
1x PRP-3 ‘Val’ Artillery Command & Reconnaissance Vehicle
3x 2S1 ‘Gvozdika’ Self-Propelled 122mm Howitzers (off-table Direct Support)
2nd Battery, Regimental Artillery Group:
1x Forward Observer
1x 1V13 Artillery Command & Reconnaissance Vehicle
3x 2S1 ‘Gvozdika’ Self-Propelled 122mm Howitzers (off-table Direct Support)
Elements, Divisional Aviation Squadron:
1x Command Mi-24 ‘Hind E’
1x Mi-24 ‘Hind E’
Elements, Frontal Aviation:
1x Forward Air Controller (with MiG-27 ‘Flogger D’ on call, armed with mixed bombs and rockets)
1x BTR-60 R975 Tactical Air Control Vehicle
Having crossed a minor water obstacle, the QRIH Battlegroup races to take up positions on the high ground overlooking the town of Durchwaten. The Recce Troop, with an attached RAF FAC, races to take up position in the southern factory complex, while ‘D’ Squadron move to take up hull-down positions on the ridge west of the town. The Irish Guards No.1 Company Group moves to occupy the town with ‘A’ Squadron Group in support. Somewhat rashly, Lt Col O’Rasmussen decides to take a personal reconnaissance of the high ground north of the town, along with the Royal Artillery AD Javelin teams. The FOOs from 5 Field Battery are allocated to each Squadron/Company Group.
Having broken through the Belgian and associated West German Home Guard units, the Tank Battalion of the 40th Motor Rifles Regiment is in full flood! The regiment’s 9th Motor Rifle Company follows closely behind, while anti-aircraft, anti-tank and artillery elements provide close support.
At the point of the advance, the reconnaissance element, having detected a new NATO unit ahead, falls back while the tanks race to seize high ground to the sotheast and northeast of Durchwaten.
The QRIH Chieftain crews, confident of their thick armour and long-range hitting power of their 120mm guns, quickly move to take up hull-down positions… However, a handful of the Soviet tanks are new T-64B models, which soon take the Chieftains to task at long-range with tube-launched AT-8 ‘Songster’ missiles, backed up by the AT-5 ‘Spandrel’ missiles of the Anti-Tank Company. Two ‘D’ Squadron Chieftain troops are knocked out in quick succession, closely followed by the Royal Artillery FV-432, which falls victim to Soviet artillery. Thankfully, the RA FOO manages to bail out of his vehicle and scuttles into the nearby woods. The remaining Chieftains return fire, but the Soviets are already closing fast…
The bloody nose received by ‘D’ Squadron is soon repeated elsewhere… The Recce Troop bites off far more than it can chew in the factory complex and suffers catastrophic casualties as they discover that a Scorpion is no match for a T-64! The shattered remnants quickly retire back toward the river valley and give up all hope of establishing an OP in the factory chimney.
Return fire by ‘D’ Squadron is remarkably ineffective as the Soviets close the range. The Squadron Commander (on the left) pushes forward to observe from the treeline, but is immediately spotted and disordered by fire from a whole company of T-64s, backed up by ATGMs. The FOO calls down fire on the Soviet tanks, but the Abbots’ 105mm guns make little impression.
On ‘D’ Squadron’s left, the Irish Guards’ No.1 Company pushes on into Durchwaten unmolested. However, they can hear the ominous sound of tank engines echoing through the streets as the Soviets push into the eastern edge of town. Major Pring places his attached Chieftan Troop and MILAN section on the right, to support the flank of the beleaguered ‘D’ Squadron. On the far left flank, 111 Air Defence Battery had also suffered losses, as their Spartan APCs came under fire and were dispatched by long-range missile fire from prowling ‘Hind’ helicopters. However, the Javelin SAM teams managed to dismount unscathed and quickly moved up to engage the helicopters.
Lt Col O’Rasmussen was leading a charmed life on the left flank, as two AT-6 ‘Spiral’ missiles from the Hinds malfunctioned and a third failed to penetrate the armour of his HQ Troop! Fire from a T-64, BMPs and an ATGM vehicle was also shrugged off, as the Colonel returned fire and destroyed T-64 and BMP platoons in quick succession! Buoyed up by their Colonel’s supporting fire. ‘A’ Squadron Group, ignoring the threat posed by the lurking helicopters, attempted a move around the northern flank of the town.
Two squads of Motor Rifles manage to escape from their burning BMPs into the woods, but a third squad is not so lucky as it is immolated. The other BMPs quickly move to better cover, along with the support AA and observer vehicles.
As one company of T-64s works its way through the factory and the wreckage of the QRIH Recce Troop, another company of tanks runs the gauntlet between the factory and the town, under fire from British artillery and the surviving Chieftains all the while. The weight of British fire temporarily forces back some of the Soviet units, but they are soon moving forward again. Behind the leading Soviet tanks, the Battalion HQ and an attached ATGM vehicle provide supporting fire, while a FOO calls down more 122mm fire onto ‘D’ Squadron’s position. Unseen by the British, a Soviet FAC dismounts from his BTR and moves up onto the high ground, to get a better view of the battlefield.
Answering the call, a MiG-27 ‘Flogger D’ streaks in from the east and dodging Javelin SAMs and hastily-sprayed machine guns, unleashes a volley of rockets at the ‘D’ Squadron Commander’s Chieftain. The Squadron Commander survives by the skin of his teeth, becoming Disordered in game terms. The MiG soon returns for a second pass, but the Javelins this time are more effective, disordering the Flogger and throwing off his aim.
The ‘Hind’ flight commander tries once again to engage Lt Col O’Rasmussen’s Chieftain, but again with little effect! Frustrated and out of missiles, his wingman moves forward to engage with rockets…
However, the Javelins of 111 AD Battery are waiting and the Hind is quickly reduced to a rapidly-descending fireball…
‘A’ Squadron’s flanking move has been detected and a platoon of T-64s moves through Durchwaten to engage them in the flank. The Chieftains manage to get their shots off first, but incredibly fail to destroy the Soviets, despite firing at point-blank range! The Soviets are suppressed, but still manage to hit the leading Chieftain troop in the flank, destroying it and blunting ‘A’ Squadron’s attack.
In the centre, No.1 Squadron Irish Guards dismount to fight through Durchwaten. However, they are distracted by the sight of a Soviet tank company bursting through the gap between the town and the factory! Their supporting Chieftain troop quickly takes out one platoon of T-64s, while the MILANs take care of another, before being subjected to Soviet artillery. The right-hand troop of ‘A’ Squadron moves along the edge of town to destroy two more T-64 platoons, but is itself then destroyed by a point-blank RPG from hidden Motor Riflemen. ‘A’ Squadron’s attached Irish Guards platoon is quick to take revenge, as they move into the houses and eliminate two lurking Soviet Motor Rifle squads.
The remnants of ‘D’ Squadron sell their lives dearly, destroying a T-64 platoon, as well as ATGM and AA elements that were unwise enough to stick their paper-thin armour above the parapet. However, a Soviet tank company is about to outflank them…
The rest of the Motor Rifle Company moves into Durchwaten, though not before an unwary section of BMPs falls victim to the wily Lt Col O’Rasmussen! An ATGM vehicle fires yet another missile at the Colonel’s Chieftain, but the armour shrugs it off and the Colonel soon chalks up yet another kill as he dispatches the uppity ATGM vehicle.
However, the writing is on the wall as ‘D’ Squadron looks about to be overrun…
The disordered and bewildered ‘D’ Squadron Commander finally loses his bottle and takes off in a frantic dash to the rear! Another Chieftain troop follows suit and falls back from the crest, though the remaining troop carries on fighting on the ridge until it is overwhelmed.
Observing the disaster unfolding on the right flank, the Chieftain Troop attached to No.1 Company Irish Guards continues to stand its ground as it reports back to Lt Col O’Rasmussen. Despite successes in the town, the right flank has now collapsed and Soviet tanks are heading for the Weser!
O’Rasmussen calls up the helicopters of 653 Squadron, but they can do little to stem the flood. All they can do is buy time for the remnants of the QRIH Battlegroup to fall back to the Weser, where they can hopefully find an intact bridge to the west bank…
So a victory for the Soviet Union and Orders of Lenin all round for the senior officers, with Major Daviesski appointed as a Hero of the Soviet Union!
On the British side, Lt Col O’Rasmussen receives the DSO for his sterling leadership and gunnery skills during this difficult engagement, while Major Pring is Mentioned in Dispatches for a skilful infantry engagement in Durchwaten. 2Lt O’Lunacy, commanding the right-hand flank troop of ‘D’ Squadron and now listed as MIA, is recommended for a VC. The Squadron Commander of ‘D’ Squadron QRIH was later arrested by the RMP and awaits Courts Martial.
The rules are my playtest set ‘Battlefront: First Echelon’, which is the Cold War variant of ‘Battlefront: WWII’ by Fire & Fury Games. Game scale is 1 model vehicle or heavy weapon representing 2-3 real ones and 1 infantry stand representing a section/squad. It’s coming together slowly…
The British models are all 1/100th or 15mm QRF models, apart from the Lynxes (Flames of War) and the Gazelle (Heller).
The Soviets are a mixture:
T-64s, Shilka and 1V13 are by QRF.
BMP and BRDM variants are by Skytrex.
The Hinds are by Flames of War.
The infantry are by Khurusan.
The Flogger is a very rare 1/100th model by Takara. I’d love to find another (or a 1/100th Takara or Revell Harrier GR3 for that matter), so if anyone ever finds one, PLEASE let me know!
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/25/04/2017 at 16:46 #61114
Although I am impressed that those lads know about the Cold War – I was met with blank stares from similar aged chaps on Saturday at Salute when explaining that we were doing a ‘Cold War’ game, they’d never heard of it!25/04/2017 at 17:23 #61117
To be fair, I’m not sure they had a clue either and they now probably think that it’s something that actually happened… 😉
The chapettes (one of whom has her back to the camera) always seem to be far more clued-up about history. When I do Normandy tours, the girls are always the most thoughtful, ask the most intelligent questions, are most likely to do preparatory research and seem to get the most out of it.
In wargaming terms, I always remember one of my lasses turning up to play the Battle of Guildford Courthouse (AWI). She quickly googled the battle, read up on American deployment and tactics, formed a plan (largely based on the historical Rebel deployment), briefed her sub-commanders accordingly and absolutely trounced the Crown forces… Not bad for a 13 year-old who had never wargamed! She’s now in military college, has her future mapped out as an RAF Engineering Officer and will probably reach Air Marshal one day… 🙂
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/25/04/2017 at 21:27 #61123kyoteblueParticipant
Enjoyed the read and seeing the models !!!26/04/2017 at 01:25 #61126Just JackParticipant
That was a fantastic batrep, thanks for posting! The table and toys look great, and man, what a fight!
I had a bad feeling when the D Sqdn Commander bolted. It looked like it was all over but the crying at that point. It’s funny he’s behind bars now though; that’s probably the safest place to be! 😉
Jack26/04/2017 at 02:01 #61127
Cheers KB and JJ.
Yeah, poor old OC D Sqn was on a sticky wicket right from the outset, when the handful of T-64Bs, with their tube-launched AT-8 missiles, rolled a phenomenal volley of 10s… Karma was restored when the Hinds suffered a 75% failure rate with their AT-6s. 🙂
I forgot to mention that the worst part of the day was getting the Hinds out of the box, to discover that both nose MGs AND a rotor blade had broken off in transit! Before their first flippin’ game!
The Team Yankee Hind rotor blades are shockingly fragile for wargames models and I’m going to have to replace them with clear discs (and the nose guns with wire). I’m pleased to report that the other TY helicopter models seem to be a bit more robust, though the Lynx TOW mount leaves a lot to be desired…
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/26/04/2017 at 03:09 #61128kyoteblueParticipant
The BF Hind rotor blades are crap , I left mine off. BF is coming out with a T-64 in plastic later this summer.26/04/2017 at 11:35 #61135John D SaltParticipant
I’m not familiar with these rules, but the scale of 1 model to 2-3 vehicles and 1 stand to 1 section I assume means that (say) three sections can be carried in a single APC. Would I be right in thinking that the infantry’s light weapons are also portrayed on a 1:3 basis? I can’t otherwise understand why there are so few 51mm mortars and MAWs (or RPG-7s for the Sovs).
All the best,
John.26/04/2017 at 11:59 #61136
Ooops, apologies Jemima! I hadn’t noticed the hair in the first pic. Good to hear that the girls are teaching the lads how to game though.
It is worrying that the yoof don’t know anything about the Cold War though, obviously having lived through it I do remember it being sort of a big deal what with the threat of all out nuclear war and that. You would have thought it might get a mention, but maybe it is covered in A levels?26/04/2017 at 12:17 #61138
The BF Hind rotor blades are crap , I left mine off. BF is coming out with a T-64 in plastic later this summer.
Yeah, agreed. I’ve found a very cheap source of clear plastic discs, however. I was already looking at replacing them, so this has hastened the purchase.
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/26/04/2017 at 12:20 #61139
Good stuff. I’m not familiar with these rules, but the scale of 1 model to 2-3 vehicles and 1 stand to 1 section I assume means that (say) three sections can be carried in a single APC. Would I be right in thinking that the infantry’s light weapons are also portrayed on a 1:3 basis? I can’t otherwise understand why there are so few 51mm mortars and MAWs (or RPG-7s for the Sovs). All the best, John.
Yes, that’s it John – spot on.
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/26/04/2017 at 12:31 #61144
Ooops, apologies Jemima! I hadn’t noticed the hair in the first pic. Good to hear that the girls are teaching the lads how to game though. It is worrying that the yoof don’t know anything about the Cold War though, obviously having lived through it I do remember it being sort of a big deal what with the threat of all out nuclear war and that. You would have thought it might get a mention, but maybe it is covered in A levels?
You’re forgiven, as she’s not that easy to spot! 🙂 ‘Cha’ is her name and is known as ‘Chabacca’ for her ability to hand her X-Wing opponents their arses…
I’ll have to ask them if the Cold War is covered in their school syllabus. I certainly had to explain what it was to that bright lass I mentioned, in preparation for her Cranwell selection board, so it doesn’t seem like it’s covered in any depth, if at all.
On our early Normandy tours we were finding that a significant minority of youngsters didn’t know who Churchill or Hitler were, let alone that we had fought a war… It surprised us even more to discover that these kids had come because it was simply a trip abroad. The Normandy Campaign, D-Day Landings or even the idea of a battlefield tour meant nothing to them. Consequently, we now put some time into ‘pre-deployment training’: we take them to a local museum, get WW2 reenactors in to demonstrate the kit, tactics and dress and also get my mate Ted in to talk about his experiences as a 19 year-old Commando in Normandy, which the youngsters find spellbinding. We also take them to Bovington for a day (some creative emphasis of the ‘Air’ aspect is required here, to justify the funding to my bosses… Thank goodness for Tetrarchs and Hamilcars… 😉 ). Consequently, when they arrive in Normandy, they now have some underpinning knowledge of what happened there.
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/26/04/2017 at 14:05 #61146
Blimey, just what are they teaching them? I can’t believe they don’t know about WW2, that is quite shocking really.26/04/2017 at 21:43 #61169SabresquadronParticipant
Certainly shocking about the lack of knowledge. They’re not all like that though. This week we’ve got a ceremony commemorating a VC winner who was born in our village (complete with a regimental march past and visiting bigwigs) , exactly 100 years after he won his gong. The boys have been learning all about it at school – not even a Blackadder-esque Lions and Donkeys version either.
N26/04/2017 at 23:18 #61171
I hasten to add that the vast majority are NOT like that at all! But we do get the odd one… 🙂
My last unit was in one of the most deprived communities in South Wales and the standard of education in the local school was simply dire. We had one lass who was bright and keen, but incredibly badly educated (she was one of the ones mentioned above). She was like a knowledge-sponge, came back a second time and went on to do history at university. A real success-story.
Most memorable was the lad who ‘had fired’ every infantry weapon we were talking about, from Sten to MP40, to Garand to MG42… It was when he started explaining how an MP40 needed two shots to kill, we realised that he perhaps wasn’t talking about real weapons…
On the flip-side; two of my ex-cadets now live the dream in Normandy working for these people and I’m very jealous: http://www.bayeuxshuttle.com/
My wargames blog: http://www.jemimafawr.co.uk/
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